DIY | Resources | Tutorials

THE ESSENTIALS! Basic Tools for the Do-It-Yourselfer

tools in workshop TM

Whether your hanging a picture frame, installing a shelf or tackling a major home improvement project, having the right tools is essential to getting the job done.  Prior to purchasing this home I had been renting for 6+ years after I sold my home and moved to the Washington, DC area.  So I had a limited tool collection.  I had a renter‘s toolbox, basically everything one would need to hang pictures, patch nail holes and put together IKEA furniture.

So needless to say I needed to go shopping.  But budget limitation prevented an all out shopping spree. Many people think that maintaining and fixing things around the home can be costly and time consuming (Ignore that voice in your head that says, “Yes, It does!).  Or the task may require all these big expensive tools.

Owning a variety of tools can be quite costly.  A mistake many homeowners make is going out  and buying an expensive toolkit or collection of tools with no rhyme or reason as to the functionality or purpose.  Quality and price are not always in direct correlation. Some of my best tools are my cheapest. There are many solutions to tackle this challenge and grow your toolbox and workshop: buy preowned or refurbished tools though garage sales, pawnshops, thrift stores, Craigslist, clearance centers like Sears Outlets, Habitat Restore Centers, and other community 2nd hand home stores., Home Depot and Lowe’s all offer refurbished tools.  Another low cost solution is government surplus sales.  It’s a great way to get steeply discounted items.  In some cases you don’t actually have to spend a dime to get the tools you need. In many cities there are whats called “Tool Libraries”.  A tool library lends tools versus your traditional library lending books.  They are an absolute resource to any community because not only do they offer tools, but a wealth of knowledge in the form of DIY classes.

But luckily, many home repair jobs can be tackled with just a few basic tools – the essentials. So if you do go out and purchase some tools start with the essentials, the basics, and slowly grow your workshop over time.

Essential Safety Gear    

Safety Glasses,  Safety gloves, Face/Dust Mask, ear plugs


Essential Tools

Tool Tote, Hammer, Drill/Driver,  Drill Bit Set


Tape measure,  Pliers,  Wrench, Utility Knife



5 in 1 Knife/Scrapper, Level, Hand Saw, Hacksaw


Miter Box Set,  Stud Finder,  Staple Gun/Brad Nailer, Calk Gun

staple gun Brad nailer

Utility Scissors,  Paw Bar/Nail Puller,  Pry Bar,  Adhesive



Screwdriver Set,  Sander, Voltage Tester, Carpenter Pencil

stanley screwdriver set    

There are basic tool kits that come with most of “The Essentials”.  Find the one that best supports the projects you are looking to tackle and compliments your personal style.  
And let your inner diva shine! Now Let’s Get Dirty!

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  1. Totally agree that these are the must-have tools for homeowners. But for more advanced tools, outsourcing to an affordable contractor is the best for your time and money. Great post!

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